missionary kid (MK)

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Interestingly, the term missionary kid has only been around since the middle of the 20th century. The original phrase was probably the simple descriptive phrase missionary’s kid (as in, “That little boy over there is the missionary’s kid”), and over time the \s\ sound of ‘s in the middle of the phrase disappeared to make the phrase easier to say quickly. It wasn’t long before missionary kid pushed out the older phrase.

Do you know any missionary kids? Or are you one yourself? What do you think of the phrase?


missionary kid n. Also: missionary’s kid (see citations for 1968, 1980, 1987). Often abbreviated MK. A person who grew up abroad because one or both parents were missionaries.
Sociologists sometimes classify missionary kids by the more generic terms third-culture kids (abbreviated TCKs or 3CKs) or cross-cultural kids (CCKs).
See also *evangelist’s kid; *pastor’s kid (PK); *preacher’s kid (PK).
1939 Annual Report of the Am. Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions 36 : [photo caption] More Missionary Kids! 1948 The Friend 118/5 18 : One of the first Americans to reach Dr. Denton after the U.S. Occupation of Japan was a young Army Officer who, as a boy, had been a “missionary kid” right in Kyoto. 1957 White “Mark of Cain” Harper’s Bazaar (Sep.) 301 : “Why don’t you and Hersha beat it off to church like good boys, Sammy…. I don’t want any dumb missionary kid around lousing things up.” 1968 Hefley Peril by Choice: The Story of John and Elaine Beek\-man, Wycliffe Bible Translators in Mexico 30 : The deal was arranged. Gwen Hummel, an M.K. (missionary’s kid) and Elaine’s girl friend but no relation, made the formal introduction. 1970 Hillis “The Other Generation on the Field” World Vision (Jan.) 19 : An M.K. back in the States admitted, “The strange and new social pressures of America threw me for a while.” And what did they say about the advantages of being a missionary kid? One said, “I would probably still be living in a forgotten little Minnesota town if Daddy and Mother hadn’t obeyed God. I am glad they did.” 1973 Kane Winds of Change in the Christian Mission 125 : One missionary kid, when applying for a scholarship, was called in by the college financial officer and questioned about the annual income reported by his parents. 1980 Wise God Knows I Won’t Be Fat Again 3 : Or you may be a preacher’s kid, an evangelist’s kid, or a missionary’s kid who is fighting hard to understand a lot of things. 1983 Japan Christian Quarterly vol. 49 170 : A “missionary kid” ought to be especially appropriate for serving in Japan because “he or she grew up here, knows the sights, sounds and smells, often speaks the language, knows the psychology, customs and culture, and needs no long orientation period.” 1986 Sand Travels of Faith iii. : I recall the first day we met. It was in the dean’s office of the School of World Mission. There she was—tall, open, direct, and very intelligent—an “MK” (missionary kid) with 15 years of missionary experience behind her in Brazil. 1987 Mayers Christianity Confronts Culture: A Strategy for Crosscultural Evangelism 189 : The missionary’s “kid” (MK) must leave his host nation and in essence “reject” it.
MK Abbreviation for *missionary kid.
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